Legislative Wrap-Ups

Minnesota Grocers Association 2023 Legislative Session

MGA 2023 Legislative Review

The 2023 legislative session has concluded and will undoubtedly go down as one of the most prolific sessions in the history of the state. The volume of consequential legislation signed into law by Governor Walz is unparalleled and will have lasting impacts on the state and on industry. Democratic lawmakers and the Governor have taken full advantage of their legislative trifecta by passing nearly all of their priority policies. Many of these policies are items they have been clamoring for since they last had full control of state government a decade ago.

At the beginning of session, in January, there was thought that the single vote majority (34 DFL- 33 GOP) in the Senate would prevent, or at least slow, passage of some of the most contentious items. However, Senate DFL leadership was able to hold all of its members together and have been able to enact major reforms. Paid Family Medical Leave, Earned Sick and Safe Time, legalization of marijuana, driver’s licenses for undocumented residents, price gouging regulations, numerous new mandates and requirements for employers, increased environmental regulations will have permanent ramifications. (See insert for additional industry-specific policies adopted this session) 

Despite a record budget surplus of over $17.5 billion dollars, DFL lawmakers and the governor have increased taxes and fees by $10 billion over the next 4 years. The new two-year budget will come in weigh in at over $72 billion dollars. This is more than a 38% increase over the previous biennium. That includes adding over 2,000 new fulltime state employees. Republicans have decried this spending as irresponsible and unsustainable. They argue that the increasingly difficult business climate in Minnesota will force businesses to move out of the state and cause many local companies to close.

In order to fund the unprecedented growth in the size of state government, this year’s tax bill contains increased business and personal taxes. There are also increased fee’s on driver’s licenses, fishing and boats licenses, a gas tax increase, a new fee on home deliveries, and more. There were small direct rebates ($260/person) and tax credits included in this year’s tax bill, as well. These were largely targeted at low-and-middle income families.

The MGA has worked diligently on behalf of industry, both on our own and among coalitions of business organizations, in an attempt to make changes to regulations that were proposed and advanced this session. It was clear early in the year that stopping passage of DFL priority bills was not feasible. We engaged collaboratively with elected officials and key legislators to make improvements to proposals wherever possible and ensured that the voice of industry was heard.

There are several “wins” that the MGA is proud to have helped secure for industry this session. These include continued funding for the Minnesota Grocers Association Foundation’s Carts to Careers Program, increased funding for the Good Food Access Program, expanded enforcement of the crime of Organized Retail Theft, and preventing any increases to Food Handler License fees.    As the dust settles on this whirlwind session, watch for Regulatory Registers and MGA webinars that will go into more detail regarding new laws and mandates that industry is now facing. We would like to thank our 2023 Legislative Sponsors for their support and for members who responded to calls to action during this unprecedented session.

Please do not hesitate to contact Steve Barthel or Jamie Pfuhl with any questions or concerns.

MGA 2023 LEGISLATIVE IMPACT SERIES
July 18, 2023 – Commerce & Pharmacy
June 27, 2023 – Taxes, Transpiration, Judiciary
June 20, 2023 – Marijuana and Agriculture
June 15, 2023 – Commissioner Thom Peterson: MN Department of Agriculture
June 13, 2023 – Earned Sick and Safe Time & Paid Family Medical Leave
June 06, 2023 – 2023 Priority Implementation Dates

NEW LAWS 
New Laws – Effective January 1st
New Laws – Effective August 1st
Preventing Hair Discrimination

New Laws – Effective July 1st
ESST Flyer
Retail Delivery Fee Flyer

 

LEGISLATIVE WEBINARS
2023 Legislative Recap
Labor New Laws, Regulations, and Requirements
Labor Webinar
MGA Paid Family and Medical Leave
2024 Legislative Recap